Furthermore, they defile their holy spirit and open their mouth with a blaspheming tongue against the laws of the Covenant of God saying, ‘They are not sure.’ They speak abominations concerning them; they are all kindlers of fire and lighters of brands, their webs are spiders’ webs and their eggs are vipers’ eggs. No man that approaches them shall be free from guilt; the more he does so, the guiltier shall he be, unless he is pressed. For (already) in ancient times God visited their deeds and His anger was kindled against their works; for it is a people of no discernment, it is a nation void of counsel inasmuch as there is no discernment in them. For in ancient times, Moses and Aaron arose by the hand of the Prince of Lights and Belial in his cunning raised up Jannes and his brother when Israel was first delivered.
Menachot 85aBabylonian Talmud
§ The mishna states: And all meal offerings come only from the optimal produce. One of the places the mishna mentions as having good-quality produce is Aforayim. The superior quality of its produce was so well known that Aforayim was used as an example in colloquial aphorisms. In Moses and Aaron’s first meeting with Pharaoh, Aaron cast his staff to the ground, whereupon it turned into a serpent. Pharaoh’s necromancers then duplicated the feat using their incantations, only to then be confounded when Aaron’s staff swallowed up all of theirs (see Exodus 7:10–12). The Gemara relates the conversation that took place: Pharaoh’s two leading necromancers, Yoḥana and Mamre, said to Moses: Are you are bringing straw to Afarayim? Performing necromancy in Egypt, the world leader in sorcery, is like bringing straw to Afarayim, which is rich in the finest grains. Moses said to them: It is as people say: To a city rich in herbs, take herbs. If you want to guarantee that people will appreciate your merchandise, bring it to a place where they are familiar with it.
Notes and References
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